Opportunity for Spain: Barca’s rising talent Yamal poised to set new records
At the tender age of 16, young Spanish winger Lamine Yamal achieved another significant milestone on Friday as he received his first call-up to the senior national team. This opportunity could potentially make Yamal Spain’s youngest ever player in the upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers against Georgia and Cyprus.
If coach Luis de la Fuente decides to include the teenager in the games on September 8th and 12th, Yamal will surpass the record set by his Barcelona teammate Gavi. Gavi currently holds the title of the youngest player to play for Spain, achieved during a Nations League semi-final victory over Italy in October 2021, when he was 17 years and 62 days old. This record broke the previous one set in 1936 by Angel Zubieta Redondo, who wore the Spanish shirt at the age of 17 years and 284 days in a friendly match.
Now, the baton can be passed to Yamal, who has the opportunity to add another record to his growing collection. His journey began when he became the youngest-ever debutant for Barcelona in La Liga, facing Real Betis at the age of 15 years and 9 months old in April.
“I am extremely happy to achieve this record, but my hope is to break even more,” Yamal expressed to the club’s website at the time. The dynamic left-footed player, who can play in all three attacking positions, remains ambitious and eager to accomplish more.
Four months later, Yamal continues to shine at Barcelona. The departure of Ousmane Dembele to Paris Saint-Germain and Raphinha’s two-match suspension provided him with a substantial opportunity to impress. He became La Liga’s youngest-ever starter in the 21st century against Cadiz and showcased an outstanding performance against Villarreal, which earned him the title of Man of the Match.
Yamal’s exceptional performance at the Estadio de la Ceramica last Sunday even earned him a standing ovation when he was substituted by Ansu Fati. Despite any fears that may arise, Yamal plays without hesitation and focuses solely on his passion for the game. He appreciates the unwavering support of his mother, who might feel a bit anxious when he starts matches.
Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez believes in Yamal’s potential to shine at the club for many years to come. Xavi commended the young player for making a difference on the field through his intelligent decision-making abilities. He emphasized that Yamal’s success at the age of 16 is not merely a result of chance but a testament to his skills.
Reports suggest that Xavi closely monitored Yamal’s progress in the club’s youth ranks since his arrival as coach in 2021.
Yamal, born in Catalonia to a Moroccan father and an Equatorial Guinean mother, joined Barcelona at the age of seven and received a call-up to the first team without even appearing for the reserve team. As a quick, skillful, and explosive player, Yamal has consistently represented Spain in the youth setup. Now, he has the opportunity to leave his mark on the senior national team.